When you read the part of Paul’s letter in which he thanks the people in Philippi for the gift they sent by way of Epaphroditus (Philippians 4:10-18), what do you read between the lines? Does Paul seem comfortable with thanking them?
Some readers might feel that Paul shows a sense of hesitation when he expresses his gratitude. He never does seem to come right out and say thank you very much.
He talks about not really needing the gift because he can get along in whatever circumstance he finds himself. On the other hand, he says he has plenty of supplies “now that I’ve received the gift you sent” (Philippians 4:18).
Some folks might even read a little self-pride into Paul’s expression of thanks. To some readers it could seem as though he’s wanting to present himself as a man who can take care of himself, with God’s help. Still, he may want to use this situation as an example of how God uses people to fulfill the needs of others. In that sense, the people of Philippi represent part of God’s “treasure in Christ Jesus” (4:19). And it’s from this storehouse of treasure that “My God will give you everything you need” (4:19).
Reprinted from Leader’s Guide & Atlas for Philippians.
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